Man set fire to himself in apparent Japan protest

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Man set fire to himself in apparent Japan protest

A man is in critical condition after self-immolating in central Seoul on Thursday in apparent protest of Japan’s economic retaliation against South Korea.

The 72-year-old man, whose identity was withheld, set himself on fire near the Sejong Center for the Performing Arts in the heart of Seoul at 8:34 a.m., according to police and firefighters.

He was rushed by firefighters to a nearby hospital where he is now in critical condition, they said, noting that flammable materials were found at the scene of the incident.

“The man sustained burns all over his body. He is now conscious, but in critical condition,” a police officer said.

Police found a bag that appears to belong to the man near the location of his self-immolation. The bag contained a cellphone and other personal belongings, along with a note calling for Japan to withdraw its trade retaliation against South Korea, police said.

His personal belongings also included a book on the life of the late Kim Bok-dong, an iconic Korean victim of Japanese wartime sexual slavery, and a flyer that says “The people will be fighting until Abe apologizes.”

The man didn’t leave a suicide note, but a piece of paper with telephone numbers of his family on it was found.

Police said they were in the process of investigating the motive of his self-immolation and the real owner of all the belongings found at the scene, as well as his record of past anti-Japanese activities.

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